BOWIE GOLDEN YEARS

1974  1975  1976  1977  1978  1979  1980 

DAVID LIVE  |  YOUNG AMERICANS  |  STATION TO STATION  |  LOW  |  HEROES  |  LODGER  |  SCARY MONSTERS

CRACKED ACTOR  |  THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH  |  JUST A GIGOLO  |  THE ELEPHANT MAN

ARTICLES  |  TV APPEARANCES

1978

JANUARY

Bowie Now promo LP issued in the US, featuring tracks from Low and "Heroes" (RCA DJLI-2697).

12 Minutes with David Bowie by John Tobler published in Zigzag magazine.

6 Beauty and the Beast/Sense of Doubt single released by RCA, the second from "Heroes".

7 Amanda Lear interviewed for Melody Maker by Chris Brazier.

"With David it was great because it was a kind of symbiosis, an exchange, it wasn't just take, take, take. I introduced him to Germany, to expressionism and to Fritz Lang. I told him about Dali (one of Amanda's old friends) and he used Un Chien Andalou on his tour. Before I met him I was reading Tolkien and Herman Hesse, now I read Machiavelli."

Bowie and Joey leave Switzerland for Berlin with Joey's Scottish nanny, Marion. Angie had stayed in New York over Christmas, fuelling a row which had been growing between herself and Bowie for some years. Bowie, furious that she hadn't even telephoned Joey at Christmas, was accused of 'kidnapping' by Angie, who arrived back at their Swiss home on 2 January to find the place empty. In a rage she took an overdose of sleeping pills and fell down the stairs, breaking her nose. She was admitted to the Samaritans' hospital in Vevey and discharged herself the following day.

9 Statement issued by Bowie in Berlin, in answer to Angie's accusations:

"My wife was not aware that my son was with me. A few days before Christmas she decided she would leave Switzerland and spend the holidays with friends elsewhere. From that day to her arrival back in 2 January, she didn't phone me or the boy to say where she was."

13 Joey is returned to Switzerland with Bowie's permission by Marion. Bowie quashes rumours that he had filed for divorce. But Angie and Bowie had made an agreement together and actually celebrated the split. Divorce proceedings started later, instigated by Angie.

Bowie back in Berlin. Shooting begins on Just a Gigolo, directed by David Hemmings, who had visited Bowie late 1977 in Switzerland.

Filming of Just a Gigolo continues throughout February at the Cafe Wien on the Kurfurstendamm in Berlin. Bowie later admitted the real draw to the picture. "Marlene Dietrich was dangled in front of me."

FEBRUARY

Press interviews are conducted in between shooting, including one for the Melody Maker by Michael Watts.

8 Film synopsis for Just a Gigolo issued by David Hemmings. At that point the film was titled Gigolo.

After filming, Bowie, fired with inspiration, would spend the rest of the evening painting and working on various woodcuts.

18 "Confessions of an Elitist" interview by Michael Watts, published in Melody Maker.

20 1978 World Tour plans announced.

Filming of Just a Gigolo completed. Bowie holidays in Kenya before joining rehearsals in the States for his world tour.

Turn and face the strange by Timothy White published in Crawdaddy.

MARCH

The 1978 World Tour

The 1978 world tour was the most thorough trek around the globe Bowie had made to date. It included dates in the US, Europe, the UK, Australia and Japan. These shows were the first since the 1976 Station to Station tour and included mostly the new material from Low and "Heroes".

Visually, Bowie had developed the white neon tube effect originally used in 1976, suspending the lights at the back of the stage and overhead to box in the effect more. He also brought in coloured spots again to soften the effect.

Bowie's wardrobe was designed for him by old friend, Natasha Kornilof, who came up with the opposite of what was then happening on the London fashion scene.

Musically, as well as including sections of the two most recent LPs, Bowie made the whole show more palatable by including a major slice of the Ziggy Stardust album.

1978 tour band

Carlos Alomar

guitar, backing vocals

Adrian Belew

lead guitar, backing vocals

Simon House

electric violin

Sean Mayes

piano, string ensemble, backing vocals

Roger Powell

keyboards, backing vocals

George Murray

bass, backing vocals

Dennis Davis

drums, percussion

15 Stops off from Kenya at Heathrow Airport for a day in London, prior to flying on to the States for rehearsals.

16 Dallas rehearsals

25 Bowie with tour band and crew travel on to San Diego to prepare for the first show.

29 San Diego Sports Arena

30 Phoenix Coliseum

APRIL

2 Fresno Convention Centre

3-4 Los Angeles Forum

5 San Francisco, Oakland Coliseum Arena

6 Los Angeles Forum

9 Houston Summit

10 Dallas Convention Centre

Show filmed and broadcast as David Bowie On Stage on US TV

11 Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University

13 Nashville Municipal Auditorium

14 Memphis, Mid-South Coliseum

15 Kansas City Municipal Auditorium

17-18 Chicago, Arie Crown Theatre

20-21 Detroit, Cobo Hall

22 Cleveland, Richfield Coliseum

24 Milwaukee Exposition Centre

26 Pittsburgh Civic Arena

27 Washington DC, Capital Centre

28-29 Philadelphia, Spectrum Arena

Both shows recorded for the Stage live LP.

Interviewed by Flo and Eddie for Phonograph Record magazine.

Midnight Special interview with Flo and Eddie broadcast on US TV. Bowie, dressed in a kimono, talked about Aladdin Sane and the re-creation of Ziggy Stardust for the '78 tour.

MAY

1 Toronto: Maple Leaf Gardens

2 Ottowa: Civic Centre

3 Montreal: Forum

5 Providence: Civic Centre

Recorded for Stage LP

6 Boston: New Boston Garden Arena.

Recorded for Stage LP

7-9 New York, Madison Square Garden

Bowie leaves the Regency Hotel in New York after the last show with Brian Eno to celebrate, picking up Bianca Jagger en route to attend a party at Studio 54 and CBGB's to catch a live group. Returning they find their limo's tyres slashed.

Bowie invites Eno to come on the tour, just to play on a few numbers. But Eno has a policy of no live work for health reasons.

David Bowie with Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra Peter and the Wolf LP released in the US.

Initial pressings of the LP were featured in translucent green (RCA Red Seal RI-12743).

Side One: David Bowie Narrates Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf

Side Two: Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

Produced by Jay David Saks

Cover photo from the ChangesOneBowie session by Tom Kelley

Tony Visconti mixes the Stage tapes in New York in two weeks for quick release.

Stage would serve as a contract filler, promotion of the tour, and help thwart bootleggers who had cashed in on Bowie's 1976 tour with The Thin White Duke bootleg recorded at Nassau Coliseum in New York State.

12 Iggy Pop's TV Eye live LP released (RCA). Bowie played on four tracks.

Europe tour

14 Frankfurt, Festhalle

15 Hamburg, Kongress Zentrum

16 Berlin, Deutschlandhalle

The show was halted during Station to Station when Bowie noticed security manhandling an audience member. Bowie ordered him in German to stop, which he did and the show resumed.

18 Essen, Grugahalle

19 Cologne, Sporthalle

20 Munich, Olympiahalle

21 Bremen. Bowie and group record a 45 minute studio performance for Musikladen Extra.

The setlist included: Sense of Doubt, Beauty and the Beast, Heroes, Stay, The Jean Genie, TVC 15, Alabama Song and Rebel Rebel, with What In The World as an encore.

Vienna, Stadthalle

Vienna, Stadthalle

Vienna, Stadthalle

22 Vienna, Stadthalle

Bowie in Cannes

23 Cannes Film Festival. Screens a French dubbed version of Just a Gigolo for film industry people.

24-25 Paris, Pavillon de Paris, Porte de Pantin

26 Lyon, Palais des Sports

27 Marseilles, Parc Chaneau

31 Copenhagen, Falkoner Teatret, Denmark

Bowie interviewed by Alan Yentob for BBC 2's Arena Rock program.

JUNE

1 Copenhagen, Falkoner Teatret.

2 Stockholm, Kungliga Tennishallen.

4 Gothenberg, Scandanavium.

5 Oslo, Ekeberg Hall.

7-9 Rotterdam, Ahoy Sports Palace.

11-12 Brussels.

14-15 Newcastle City Hall. >

Newcastle City Hall

pic: Denis O'Regan

16 Newcastle City Hall. Interviewed for Tyne Tees Northern Lights.

19 Glasgow, Apollo. Interviewed for Reporting Scotland.

20 Glasgow, Apollo. Interviewed earlier by Jonathan Mantle for Vogue (September edition).

21-22 Glasgow, Apollo.

24-26 Stafford, Bingley Hall.

29-30 Earls Court, London. Janet Street-Porter interview for London Weekend Show on the second night.

JULY

Eals Court

1 London: Earls Court

Be My Wife and Sound And Vision later released on RarestOneBowie. Sound And Vision was a last minute encore decision by Bowie and hadn't been played live before: "This is last night stuff, folks!"

In attendance were Bowie's mother, Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor, Ian Dury, Dustin Hoffman, Bianca Jagger, Bob Geldof, Iggy and David Hemmings. Director Clive Donner and Melvyn Bragg attended the previous night.

Hemmings was shooting the Earls Court shows and one of the Stafford shows to be part of Bowie's documentary record of the tour, and one of the first Bewlay Brothers productions. The film has never been released however excerpts were used on The London Weekend Show special. This featured clips from the second Earls Court show (Star, Heroes, Hang Onto Yourself), interviews with fans, and a pre-concert interview with Bowie by Janet Street-Porter.

Bowie interviewed in 2000:

UNCUT: A Stage tour film was shot by David Hemmings at Earls Court. Why was it never released?

DB: I simply didn't like the way it had been shot. Now, of course, it looks pretty good and I would suspect that it would make it out some time in the future.

The Earls Court shows marked the end of the European leg of the tour, which resumed later in the year.

While in London, Bowie saw the second of Iggy's Music Machine gigs in Camden Town. While backstage with Iggy, Johnny Rotten arrived. Bowie and Rotten had nothing to say to each other. Bowie later said, "I just sat back and listened."

During the UK tour Bowie decided to stay in rented or borrowed flats rather than hotels. Their location was unknown even to the promoter and the band.

At the end of the tour Bromley Council presented Bowie with a bill of 38.31 for unpaid rates.

2 Alabama Song recorded at Visconti's Good Earth studios, London.

8 London Weekend Show special broadcast (40 mins)

David Hemmings David Hemmings Nic Roeg
 

AUGUST

4 Musikladen Extra television show broadcast in Germany - minus What In The World - recorded earlier in the summer in Bremen.

 

SEPTEMBER

8 Stage double live LP released by RCA. Recorded at the Boston Philadelphia and Providence dates, Stage became a subject of contractual dispute between Bowie and RCA. Bowie claimed that it counted as two LPs but RCA claimed it was worth one as it was taken from a live performance.

Stage was widely criticised for its tracklisting. Instead of the original running order, the tracks were arranged chronologically, the crowd noise was inaudible and fades between each track, losing much of the live dynamics of the show. Tony Visconti rectified this and restored the original running order of the setlist when he remixed and remastered it in 2005.

       

Bowie by Lord Snowdon

Lodger recording sessions at Mountain Studios, Montreux.

Vogue (UK) issue including feature and interview with Bowie by Jonathan Mantle and photographs by Snowdon, taken in Berlin just after Just a Gigolo filming in February.

An Evening With David Bowie released in US (RCA DJL1-3016)

Released to promote Stage, the exclusive Superstars Radio Network interview was recorded earlier in the year at Bowie's apartment in New York.

Bowie talks candidly about his life, career, and influences.

Intercut with live music tracks taken from the Stage LP.

Star / What In The World / Breaking Glass promotional maxi single released (RCA)

25 Bowie in Paris for a photo session for Italian Vogue (December edition).

Phone interview for Australian radio series, The Golden Years of David Bowie, broadcast on the last night of Bowie's Sydney concerts in November.

Q: Is there something that you have not achieved that you wanted to?

DB: Swimming (laughs). You've gotta believe this, I only learnt to swim last week. I'm very proud of myself. I can do the crawl. I can only do one length. I've got very good, sort of, lung power and can hold my breath 'cos I can't breathe yet. So I can't come back (laughs). When I get to the other end I'm stuck 'cos I'm out of breath. But I like snorkelling a lot, so I really want to learn to swim. So I learnt to crawl and as long as I've got a snorkel in my mouth, I'll go round anywhere, any distance. I'm pretty foolhardy about water, that's why I love ships and I love sailing.

OCTOBER

The world premiere of Just a Gigolo cancelled in Germany for one month because of difficulties in the translation from English to German. The main cut of the film was drastically different to the version later seen in England.

A press release was issued from Bowie's office to answer rumours that he was preparing to leave RCA for another label:

"In answer to the numerous rumours concerning my recording activities, I wish to clear the air and set the record straight.

At present and for the foreseeable future I am under contract to RCA Records and at no time have I engaged in any negotiations to alter that status.

My relationship with RCA has been a long and rewarding one and any rumours that I am signing with another label are completely false and erroneous."

NOVEMBER

Australasian Tour

Bowie's first tour of Australia. He arrived quietly in Australia in early November. No arrival date was given to the press.

On the flight the captain announced that he was closing down one of the engines because it was spilling oil. "Awfully decent of him to tell us," Bowie told a small gathering of Australian press.

Large press conferences were ruled out by Bowie who preferred to call a number of smaller meetings over the next two days. The interviews were arranged through the tour promoter, Paul Dainty.

Bowie described how he felt about the Australian tour:

I'm looking forward to it. It's a long way to go and there have been times in the past when I considered it. But now we're about to start, I'm very happy.

11 Adelaide. The first Australian show

14 Perth

       

Interviewed by Ian Meldrum for Australian music show, Countdown. Opening with live footage of Alabama Song, the interview was done on an indoor tennis court. Meldrum would interview Bowie again in '79 and '80.

Bowie's keyboardist Roger Powell was not unavailable for the latter part of the tour, replaced by Australian Denis Garcia.

16 The world premiere of Just a Gigolo (Schoner Gigolo - Armer Gigolo) at the Gloria Palast, Kurfurstendamm, Berlin. The show was attended by most of the cast of the film (except Bowie). It was badly reviewed and taken off the German circuit before being seen by the public. David Hemmings began work on a new edit in London.

17 Breaking Glass / Art Decade, Ziggy Stardust single released by RCA

18 Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The show was billed, 'Come Rain Or Shine' - it poured.

The National Times said, 'The light show, like the artist when illuminated, was an example of true excellence.'

24-25 Sydney Showground. The last of Bowie's sell-out Australian shows.

Supported on the Australian tour by Australian group The Angels. This was the first time for over five years Bowie had a support act.

Tickets for the Sydney concerts cost $12.50 (approximately 8.00).

The piano used on tour, a Bechstein, was originally wood grain coloured. It was painted black for studio work, blue for a TV special, black for private use, white for Rod Stewart's 1977 tour of Australia, and black again for Bowie.

   

21 Brisbane, Lang Park

Bowie, as usual while on tour, caused controversy. A Brisbane newspaper reported:

"David Bowie today (22 November 78) received some noisy feedback from Queensland's minister in charge of noise, Mr Russ Hinze, following the pop star's open-air concert last night. 'These pop singers come out here to make a quick quid by disturbing our peace and tranquillity,' Mr Hinze said. 'The fact that he's a pommie as well wouldn't help.'

Mr Hinze, who is the minister for local government, said the newly-formed Noise Abatement Authority will investigate complaints that last night's Bowie concert at Lang Park, Brisbane, disturbed the peace.

It was reported that the noise was loud enough to be heard 6 km away. Residents of the suburbs of Paddington, Barton and Milton described it as 'intolerable'.

It is estimated that 40,000 kg of equipment will accompany the 31 year-old cult hero, including an intricate system of fluorescent lights. A fleet of seven semi-trailers will be used to transport the equipment around Australia."

   

28 Sydney: Interviewed on Willesee At Seven by Mike Willesee.

Bowie awarded a plaque for Outstanding Sales by the Australian office of RCA. It was later given to a charity.

To capitalise on the excitement The Man Who Fell to Earth was rereleased on the Australian circuit. Bowie left Australia as quietly as he had arrived,
travelling to Japan to finish his tour.

DECEMBER

6 Osaka: Koseinenkin Kaikan.

Bowie's first Japanese show of the tour. Broadcast on Japanese radio. Interview on Japanese TV Star Sen Ichi Ya.

Q. You have a son and his name is Zowie?

DB: One of his names.

Q. Is there a meaning to Zowie?

DB: No.

Q. And how old is he?

DB: Seven-and-a-half.

Q. Does he look like you?

DB: Yes.

Q. Which bit?

DB: Um, not the eyes (laughs). He's blond and very lively. He's not interested in music at all.

Q. He's not going to take after you?

DB: No, he likes mathematics (laughs).

Q. Weren't you very smart when you were a boy?

DB: No, I used to fall over a lot!

7 Osaka, Koseinenkin Kaikan.

9 Osaka, Banpaku Kaikan.

11 Tokyo: NHK Hall

Australian magazine Juke article published:

"Rumours … that bizarre rocker David Bowie was paid for his Australian tour in gold to avoid customs and taxation, and made it into jewellery … Rumours have been established as false, a spokesman for the tour said … 'If he'd been paid in gold he would have lugged around a nugget as big as a bumper bar.'

12 Tokyo, NHK Hall. Bowie's last show in Japan, and the end of his world tour.

The Young Music Show recorded for television. When broadcast the show was condensed to one hour.

Tracks: Warszawa, Heroes, Fame, Beauty and the Beast, Five Years, Soul Love, Star, Hang Onto Yourself, Ziggy Stardust, Suffragette City, Station To Station, TVC15

Just a Gigolo premiered in Japan. The official party took place at the Roppongi disco. Bowie attended dressed in a recently-tailored silk suit with lady friend, Dewi Sukarno.

25 Bowie spends Christmas in Tokyo.


1974  1975  1976  1977  1978  1979  1980 

DAVID LIVE  |  YOUNG AMERICANS  |  STATION TO STATION  |  LOW  |  HEROES  |  LODGER  |  SCARY MONSTERS

CRACKED ACTOR  |  THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH  |  JUST A GIGOLO  |  THE ELEPHANT MAN

ARTICLES  |  TV APPEARANCES